towards a pandemic of imagination

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anon (not verified)
towards a pandemic of imagination

i imagine there are some people, staying in for an extended period, watching and feeling the gyrations of a world in turmoil, are wondering, contemplating, talking about how this situation came to be. perhaps imagining what could be different. within and beyond this systemic emergency.

i am obviously not talking about the true believers focused on new leadership, appropriately built platforms.

if there is anything that anarchists do a lot of is reading, thinking, and writing. over a wide range of subjects and experiences: theory, philosophy, critiques, skills. rebellion, strategy, gaming, mental and physical health and wellness, rewilding. prose, reviews, poetry...the anarchist library is so packed it is not easy to wade through and no summaries or descriptions to entice.

i am suggesting this forum be used to share favorite writings - not just from @lib, of course. was there any that had a mind-blowing effect on your life. a must-read list? a must ignore list?

caspar (not verified)
just finished The Unbearable

just finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I ended up liking it alot more than I initially thought I would starting it. I enjoyed the lens of daily life through philosophy (Nietzsche and the ancient Greeks are prominent). the timing was appropriate, as I recommend it to anyone who has just become disillusioned with the grand spectacle of politics and contemplating their existence.

VirusoNihilist (not verified)
I felt that Kundera

I felt that Kundera misinterpreted Nietzsche's concept of eternal recurrence in its application to the subjective values and emotions of sexual relationships within a materiatic Western bourgeois setting. This vague lightness of being, what is it, an indifference to other's obligations, a detachment from owning and manipulating another person's desire?
Nietzsche's heaviness concerned the depth of not being detached from fate, of not flitting ones life away in the shallow materialistic lightness of being bourgeoisie.
You may disagree, Kundera himself is so invested in the Western Cold War and the overpowering assumptions that culture in Europe imbues within its citizens.

caspar (not verified)
misinterpretation or inversion?

I dont disagree that Kundera could be misreading Nietzsche, as I havent studied N enough to speak with any certainty. from what I gather, the concept of eternal recurrence (liberating for Nietzsche, but as a weighty burden for Kundera), contrasted with the lightness of detachment, is used to illustrate different outlooks and decisions made by the characters. the question of whether which is actually positive or negative: heaviness or lightness, is asked at the very beginning of the novel. there are pitfalls to both the weighty duty of "es muss sein!" ("it must be!" taken from Beethoven and used throughout the story) and the unbearable lightness of detached being (and an inability to reconcile with kitsch).

"kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative senses of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.
For none among us is superman enough to escape kitsch completely. No matter how we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition."

so, depending on the person, heaviness or lightness can be liberating, burdens, or both, effecting the decisions one makes. one cannot know how because one is given only one life, with no restarts to compare how the decisions will play out. I think, if anything, their take on "the Grand March" and kitsch motivating actors on the stage of History was worth the read.

I also dont disagree Kundera is doing what you claim, but most of your criticism is unclear to me. are you calling Kundera bourgeois in contrast with Nietzsche's claim? are they making false assumptions based on an alignment with European citizenry? Im unsure how invested Kundera was in either side of the war, as I read in the novel indictments of both sides (or the difficulty in taking sides at all).

VirusoNihilist (not verified)
Well, to be honest, my

Well, to be honest, my criticism of Kundera is biased in that, to a significant but not excessive degree, I am a superman. And so I have transcended kitsch, especially the materialistic Western, dare I say, Christian European bourgeois manifestations. This is where I largely feel Kundera's values malign the spirit of Nietzsche's intent in conveying the importance of one life even if it may appear insignificant if placed within an eternal loop of recurrence. His story characters suffer from a narcissistic self-absorption I found nauseating, and to have put so much detail and importance within the story's plot to these types of values and emotions totally sickened me. Its just that I'm a Nietzschean purist, forgive my obsessions.
But yes, I also enjoy stories about characters in history, at the moment reading Camus. Now there's a writer who knows his way around kitsch.

VirusoNihilist (not verified)
I should add that the Nazis

I should add that the Nazis also totally misinterpreted Nietzsche's idea of superman from a materialistic power perspective.
Its common for Nietzsche to be misunderstood.

VirusoNihilist (not verified)
PS Good point about inversion

PS Good point about inversion, and that alone can make a reading interesting.

anon (not verified)
this was a very funny (and

this was a very funny (and titillating) thing to read in 2020:

read it, practice it and jot that down at the next skill inventory at your commune

twatt (not verified)
fuck work

ok easy to to do, what to do? gotta eat, gotta be warm or cool, gotta be healthy gotta get, gotta go...

to reject a life without work, without job, without career, without money, salary, as much a failure of imagination as it is unquestioned economic imperatives. imperatives drive and workers go along to get along.

the false or at least overplayed tension between capitalism and communism is as worn-out as the workers who "voluntarily" continue powering their chosen machinery.

seeing then understanding the barriers to a rich and vibrant life without reliance on socio-economic command and control systems is a good first step towards opening space for imagining something richer than wealth, more satisfying than promotions, more healthful than medical insurance plans and more pleasurable than a vacation. then to destroy or to get around those barriers becomes the game of life.

The Abolition of Work
Organized Labor versus “The Revolt Against Work”
How Ethical is the Work ‘Ethic
Choosing Marginality
Does Work Really Work?
Anarchy: The Life and Joy of Insubordination
Primitive Affluence: A Postscript to Sahlins
Why Work?
Work: The Theft of Life
Product is the Excrement of Action
Let's Destroy Work, Let's Destroy the Economy
Eight Hours Too Many

anon (not verified)
If you live in more or less

If you live in more or less organized squats there's no need for wage slavery or selling drugs, jsyk, as the need for rent and other useless expenses becomes void. You do other, looser forms of labor for sustenance such as dumpstering, lifting, scamming, gardening, craftmanship, etc.

mu (not verified)
you are just as much, if not

you are just as much, if not more, a slave to civilization, to society, than the wage slave. you require the waste/excess of the wage slave for your existence. without it, you perish. and with your "scamming" of individual others, you risk becoming the shit person of the shit society you claim to oppose.

there is no "better" or less terrible way of living within this shit society. it must be destroyed.

anon (not verified)
Just as a generally relevant

Just as a generally relevant suggestion, I recommend the book (not the movie) The Circle.

And I recently read a book whose title escapes me, about some folks in Los Angeles dealing with the breakdown of civilization and how folks responded. It was probably the most realistic depiction of a collapse scenario that I have ever seen. I will try to find the title and post it.

Never again (not verified)
Mila 18, Leon Uris

Not an anarchist book, but a worthwhile fictionalized account of the Warsaw Ghetto and the many battles to survive. For someone, ANYONE, to survive. If only to let the world know, to make sure the torture and death did not go unnoticed, unremembered. And that the resistance was strong despite ideological differences. The personal stories, diaries and years of research make for a mostly gripping and enlightening read.

I just reread it for the third time last month and when I finished it I was left with a different sense of urgency and anger and sadness and horror than the previous two trips. Today as I stepped outside my geezer bubble for my monthly trip to town and a looksee at the world, as I view the world from afar via the internet, I was jolted by the increasing signs of authoritarianism and (increasingly coopted) resistance. But sadly, unsurprised.

And in a snap, my mind returned to Mila 18 and I recalled the most important lesson of the Warsaw Ghetto and so many others: too little too late.

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